Together 4 Yes: Ireland’s Abortion Vote

Ireland voted to repeal the Eighth amendment of its constitution on May 25th 2018, putting an end to the country’s 35 year abortion ban in defiance of catholic conservatism. Activists flooded the streets of Dublin prior to the vote to encourage Irish voters to liberate women from the patriarchal and religious dicta that for so long mandated a woman’s body. Ireland’s decision is a ray of liberal sunshine in the midst of Europe’s rising right-wing politics. Prime Minister Leo Varadkar pronounced the results of the vote as a “culmination of a quiet revolution that’s been taking place in Ireland for the past 10 or 20 years.”

This progressive act has changed the country’s Constitution in order to honour gender equality. This is a step forward not only for reproductive rights but for the future of democracy.

Together for Yes dismantles religious authority, and the misogynistic and patriarchal laws that ruled a woman’s womb; the assembly of a few cells had more rights to be human and entitled to more freedom than the person carrying its life. The Catholic Church is not unfamiliar with criticism for its outdated beliefs; the Catholic faith has involved the persecution of women since its conception. In many ways, religion has not been a friend to progress and equality, and some faiths have participated in the silencing of women throughout history.

Women play crucial roles in religious texts and yet in many cases wield very little of their own power. In the case of Christianity, it begins with Eve’s curiosity, with Mary’s immaculate conception, and with Mary Magdalene’s witnessing of Jesus’ resurrection. Women established the core of what the Church is today and yet face condemnation when it comes to reproductive rights.

The perseverance of women is emblematic of the democratic platform; the energy, the endurance, and the commitment to justice allude to the matriarchal leadership of Athena – goddess of wisdom, justice, war, and victory. This rather undermines the gender hierarchy enforced by Christianity and Catholicism.

The Irish Abortion Referendum is a sign of the waning influence of Roman Catholic values, which for so long held sway in democratic matters. The further Ireland divides church from state, the more equal and progressive a society they will have.

Together for Yes is the reproductive justice every woman is entitled to. Women’s rights are human rights, whether you are a pro-choice or pro-life activist you deserve access to reproductive health care. Ireland repeals the Eighth, and together we say Yes to change the course of history for gender equality. Let’s lend our voices for more choices!